My niece Aria is 3, and her favorite word right now is “Why?”. Since she lives in San Diego and I live in New York, I don’t hear this question nearly as often as my brother does. Still, it got me thinking. In the course of my life, do I ask “why” enough? Said another way: Is there a purpose behind my daily activities, and are my efforts aligned with the things I actually care about?
As marketers, I think “why” is a question we need to be asking ourselves on a regular basis. In the day-to-day mad dash to keep up with our editorial calendars and field last-minute requests from pretty much every team within our organizations, we can lose sight of the overall business objectives we’re supposedly working towards. While our labor may not be at odds with these organizational goals, our focus may start to drift over time. When this happens, our content becomes less effective and we see diminished ROI.
Every business has slightly different marketing objectives depending on your audience (B2B vs. B2C), industry, and size. However, there are a few common goals that all marketing teams share. Let’s explore 6 of these universal marketing objectives and how we as content creators can help achieve them.
1. Drive Brand Awareness
Every brand wants to grow their audience and keep people talking about them. While this may feel like a somewhat aspirational goal that can’t be easily measured, there’s both a qualitative and quantitative component to brand awareness.
- Thought leadership seems like a purely qualitative goal. After all, you can’t really “measure” whether your audience thinks you’re an expert in your field. But you can measure other factors that point to being a thought leader, such as shares by industry influencers, social mentions, citations in other people’s content, and guest post / interview requests from outside publishers and research firms.
- Increased engagement is a more quantitative goal that can be measured through individual metrics like time spent, pages viewed per session, bounce rate, video views, scroll tracking, on-page clicks, and shares.
2. Generate Leads
This is the quantitative goal that most marketing programs are judged on. There are four key ways content can contribute to your team’s lead generation effort:
- Increase conversion rates: Creating high-quality content will inevitably lead to higher conversion rates on gated content, subscriber forms, and demo request forms.
- Increase lead volume: Driving more traffic to content with integrated lead gen forms will increase your overall volume of leads (if your content is relevant and interesting, that is).
- Increase qualified lead volume: Usually, it’s a content marketer’s job to create content that will educate and qualify leads as they move down the funnel to sales readiness.
- Increased lead engagement: By serving up the right content to the right people at the right time, you can drive higher engagement from your existing leads—and that tends to make them more willing to hear about your products and services in the long run.
3. Shorten the Purchase Cycle
Source: The Gloss
Whether you’re selling software to other businesses or shoes directly to consumers, a shorter selling cycle is always preferable. Two ways content marketing can help speed up the buyer journey are:
- Lead nurturing: By educating leads on the value of your products or services—and also, if necessary, changing the conversation to focus on the negative consequences of not using your offerings—you can help them reach a purchase decision faster.
- Comparative content pieces: You know consumers are going to shop around before making a purchase. Why not help them consider their options with a handy (and strategically crafted) comparison guide?
4. Reduce Costs
Source: Focal Breeze
Generating leads organically or optimizing your paid programs can reduce cost per lead (CPL) and cost of acquiring a customer (CAC) considerably. Great content can help you achieve both of these goals. On the organic side, this may mean investing in additional long-form web pages, articles, or other indexable content around keywords your audience is searching for. On the paid side, this may require new ad creative, more engaging landing pages (we recommend interactive content!), and reducing friction in the info capture flow.
5. Increase Revenue
With the right content, you can drive a larger average order value (AOV) for an initial purchase and increase customer lifetime value (CLV) with additional purchases over time.
- For B2C companies, content that curates collections of recommended items can be highly effective for increasing AOV, especially when based off of previous browsing or purchase history.
- For B2B companies, content that clearly defines the benefits of a premium subscription package / add-on services can increase AOV.
- For both types of companies, maintaining meaningful, ongoing conversations with customers via email and other channels can help increase CLV by reducing churn and driving upsells.
6. Nurture Customer Relationships
Beyond simply increasing revenue per customer, marketing can help brands nurture customer relationships by providing interesting, valuable content tailored to the existing base of users. This investment in customer education, inspiration, and entertainment will ensure that you have a tight-knit clan on brand advocates who will spread the word about your products or services, either peer-to-peer or on social media. Using structured referral programs can be a great way to incentivize sharing while also enriching your relationships with customers by rewarding them for their activity on your brand’s behalf.
The Bottom Line
In order to drive meaningful results, your content marketing efforts must be grounded in the business goals of your organization. These 6 universal marketing objectives apply to most companies in most cases, but there are sure to be others unique to your company as well. Make sure you periodically evaluate your content to confirm that it’s contributing positively to your broader organizational goals.
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